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Pitt Football Plank Champion Comes From Surprising Place

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Pitt center Terrence Moore.

Pitt has benefited from the Aaron Donald Football Performance Center over the last few seasons, with strength & conditioning coach Michael Stacchiotti keeping the Panthers in shape, and it’s no different this offseason.

According to Pat Narduzzi, while speaking on the ACC PM show on Friday, nine Pitt Panthers went over 20 minutes while doing the plank.

The plank, of course, is the core exercise in which someone leans on their forearms, positioned as if they would be doing a push otherwise, and holds the pose. It’s an exercise that truly tests core strength.

Terrence Moore knocked off Daejon Reynolds, as both went well over 20 minutes, to claim the practice title.

“So, this morning we ran a play called flagstaff and Terrence Moore, one of our offensive linemen, he had these big marks still — on either forearm,” Narduzzi said. “And he was like, ‘Coach, you see these?’ He won the thing, he wasn’t going to be denied. Coach Stacc was throwing weight on his back, he had the biggest scars still on his forearm from planks.”

Moore is a mountain of a man at 6-foot-5, 305 pounds, returning for his first full season at the Pitt starting center, and it’s very impressive that he has the core strength to hold a plank for over 20 minutes. It’s impressive that nine Panthers were able to hold a 20-minute plank.

Donovan McMillon was another one of the Panthers who lasted over 20 minutes, and like Moore, he’s also returning for his full season as a starter at Pitt.

“He had a big one last year, and we expect him to have another one,” Narduzzi said. “At this point last year, he wasn’t even a starter. He earned it after the second game of the season against Cincinnati, he came in and played lights out and never looked back. Now I think he’s walking into his second season at Pitt just knowing exactly what he’s doing. I think he knows the defense inside and out right now and he can be a coach back there as far as his knowledge. He’s a great tackler, we hope some people throw at him this year, he’s really athletic covering guys, didn’t get a lot of opportunities at interceptions back there.”

Moore, McMillon and while Nate Yarnell wasn’t able to hit the 20-minute mark, stopping after the 10-minute mark himself, he’s also returning for his first season as a full-time starter — lots of starters emerging from somewhat unlikely places.

“(Yarnell) deserved that vote of confidence, he’s gonna have the opportunity to go out there and be the man,” Narduzzi said. 

There isn’t a single player at Pitt who isn’t working hard in the weight room, directly with Stacchiotti and his training staff, but the planking challenge was a finisher this spring. Moore fought for his crown, as did Reynolds and McMillon and Yarnell and everyone else, but it’s all in the pursuit of being a tougher football team on the field in 2024.

Narduzzi wanted his squad to be tougher, and the results are already showing as summer camp inches closer.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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